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Court dismisses appeal by fraudster

Action could have blocked compensation of Bahamian investment fraud victims
  • Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner.

Guardian Business Editor

Published: Oct 08, 2013

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Calling the 16-month period he waited to make his appeal “inordinate and inexcusable”, the Court of Appeal has dismissed an attempt by a man accused of a financial fraud against Bahamian and international investors to belatedly overturn default judgments against him obtained by victims who included the family of Member of Parliament Loretta Butler-Turner.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by convicted fraudster Derek Turner for an extension of time to appeal, awarding the costs of the action to the intended respondents, and paving the way for the disbursement of a collective $8.106 million to victims of the fraud.

Edward Turner, Loretta Turner, Milo B. Butler Investments Co. Ltd. and Peter Michael Davis are listed as intended respondents in the matter, which is just the latest in a slew of actions which had the potential to block the disbursement of compensation to Bahamian victims of the investment fraud.

In a written judgment on the matter posted yesterday, the Court of Appeal said that not only was the delay of 16 months between the time when the Supreme Court had entered the default judgments against New Zealand-born Derek Turner and the time when he sought to appeal them “inexcusable”, but Turner has also made “admissions on the record” which made his chance of success in any further appeal against the default judgments poor.

According to the judgment from Justices Anita Allen, Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh, “there are, on record, admissions by the intended first appellant that he defrauded the intended respondents.”

Derek Turner, who is unrelated to Edward or Loretta Turner, had previously pleaded guilty in the U.S. to wire fraud in February 2009, and was convicted. That conviction was overturned.

However, he subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a reduced imprisonment term.

Edward Turner, Loretta Turner, Milo B. Butler Investments Co. Ltd and Peter Michael Davis all claimed that they were victims of the fraud to which Derek Turner had pleaded guilty in the U.S. and the default judgements obtained against him were sought as part of an effort to recover some of the millions of dollars they had invested in his fraudulent scheme.

Their efforts were almost thwarted earlier when the U.S. courts issued a forfeiture order attempting to have the funds attained through the sale of Derek Turner’s Bahamas assets turned over to that country in order to compensate some of his international victims.

However, the Bahamas Supreme Court refused to register that order, finding that the forfeiture order was “incapable of registration” due to the earlier default judgments obtained by Davis and the Butler family.

According to the judgment in relation to Derek Turner’s aborted appeal, his decision to wait until June 20, 2013, 16 months after Justice Jon Isaac’s February 24, 2012 decision to refuse his initial request to have the default judgments obtained by the intended respondents overturned “appears to be very much an attempt to take advantage” of the decision by the Bahamian courts not to allow the U.S. courts to claim his assets on behalf of non-Bahamian victims of his fraud.

The normal window to appeal would be up to 14 days after the judgment is issued.

On his part, Turner is said to have argued that his delay in pursuing the appeal came as a result of specific of a failure to reach his attorney in time.

“He said he believed his appeal was filed in time in as much as Counsel advised him that he had good grounds for appeal. He swore that he was unable to ascertain whether it had been filed because he was never able to contact counsel since he was incarcerated at the time. He further alleged that he was in an impecunious state and was therefore unable to afford to instruct other counsel,” said the judgment.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 16:45

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